According to a recent French study, our prefrontal cortex structure is correlated with our ability to make healthy food choices. It’s important to note that this does not necessarily mean one caused the other, although it might. Further studies are needed in order to make such an assertion.
The study analyzed the information of four different studies, which looked at two ways people choose what to eat. It analyzed a total of 123 healthy participants at an average age of 30.
The two ways people chose what to eat were either 1) selecting foods based on tastiness, healthiness or resorting to what they usually eat, and 2) keeping a particular distance from foods that are high in calories. The participants were then given MRI scans.
The study found that participants that had a larger ventromedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex were more able to practice self-control and were also more able to make healthier diet choices than their counterparts.
Comments On The Study
The scientists leading the study pointed out that there are obviously dramatic differences in people’s abilities to follow and maintain a particular diet.
The ventromedial prefrontal cortex is responsible for emotional control and making decisions, and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognition.
“Our results suggest that regulatory success may result not only from momentary fluctuations in motivation and attention but also from more stable variation in neuroanatomy.”
However, it is important to note that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. The researchers also pointed out that although it does make sense that the size of these structures could affect one's ability to control their diet, our brain structures also change over time based on our lifestyle choices and our environment. Therefore, this proves that our food choices can also affect the shape and size of our brain structures.